'Not a victimless crime': Judge on child pornography
ACCESSING child pornography is not a victimless crime.
This is according to Judge Nicole Kefford who sentenced a Kingaroy man in Kingaroy District Court on March 12 for accessing child pornography.
"The offence can't be defined as a victimless crime, the children are the victims," she said.
"The production of child pornography involves exploitation and the corruption of children who are not capable of defending themselves."
Matthew Cutler pleaded guilty to one count of using a carriage service to access child pornography material.
The court heard detectives from the Kingaroy Criminal Investigation Branch executed a search warrant at the defendant's Kingaroy residence after receiving intelligence from the Queensland Police Service on May 21, 2018.
QPS investigators had intercepted the defendant accessing and commenting on another user's album on a website known to host the sharing of child pornography material.
They traced the 35-year-old man's email address used to log in and the internet protocol to the defendant's home address in Kingaroy.
The court heard during the police search he confirmed he accessed the internet on his electronic devices and made admissions to accessing the material and that he was ashamed for doing so.
"You admitted you'd looked at child pornography images on the morning of the police search including an image titled Elizabeth 14-year-old," Judge Kefford said.
In the statement of facts the court heard he voluntarily led police to his bedroom where a large screen television was connected to a Dell computer tower, which was used to view the child pornography.
Police observed two Russian websites known to host child pornography displayed on the screen, with one displaying a list of hyperlinks to images.
The court heard the defendant had told police he was using his electronic devices to locate and view the material, but denied saving child pornography to his devices.
Police reported Cutler declined to answer questions regarding his methods of accessing the 'dark web' sites.
A number of electronic devices were seized during the search and returned after it was established they were not used to access the material.
Judge Kefford ordered the items used in the offending, the Acer computer tower, Dell computer tower, Asus laptop computer and Apple iPhone to be forfeited to the court.
The court heard the defendant told police he needed help to stop viewing the child pornography and was referred to counselling services via PoliceLink.
The statement of facts revealed the forensic examination of the defendant's browser history showed he had accessed a site on at least five dates in 2018: May 1, 15, 18, 20 and 21.
The court heard there was no accessible child pornography located on any of the defendant's devices.
"There is no suggestion you have paid for or profited in any way in relation to your offending, but that doesn't demonstrate this is a victimless crime," Judge Kefford said.
She said the defendant had admitted to experiencing depression, anxiety and being isolated at the time of the offending.
Judge Kefford said imprisonment was appropriate for this type of offence.
"Reasons of the objective is the seriousness of the offence and the importance of general deterrence with this type of offence," she said.
Cutler was convicted and sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment.
He will be released immediately and is required to pay $1000 if he breaches his two-year good behaviour order.